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Lake Sumter State College has issued an announcement that Dr. Paul P. Williams, founding president of the college and president emeritus, passed away on July 16, 2016 at the age of 95.

"Dr. Williams was one of the early pioneers of the community college system, espousing and supporting the benefits that an institution such as ours brings to the region," said LSSC President Stanley Sidor.

In early 1962, when a state-legislated mandate established a junior college in Lake County, Florida, Dr. Williams became the first president of then Lake-Sumter Junior College, which soon after merged with Johnson Junior College.

By September of that same year, Dr. Williams had hired faculty and staff to take on the first educational cohort before the Leesburg Campus had been built. When he retired eighteen years later, he had taken a college with a student body of hundreds and turned it into one with thousands with a developed campus in Leesburg.

When announcing his resignation to the board of trustees in October 1980, Dr. Williams stated he was very regretful to leave but felt that he had reached a point in time where he had to pass on the torch.

"It is with great satisfaction and joy that we recall the years of progress of this college under the sensitive, guiding hand and judgement of this man of great learning, understanding, wisdom, and love," wrote the district board of trustees on October 15, 1980, recognizing Dr. Williams as president emeritus.

"The lives of many have been touched and improved directly and indirectly by this great educator and administrator."

Dr. Williams is remembered for his accomplishments, which, aside from building a thriving institution from the ground-up, include breaking ground for the Fine Arts Center, which is named in his honor, offering courses via television, adding maternity leave for employees of the college, and instituting the four-day work week during the summer.

Lake Sumter State College mourns the passing
of its founding president, Dr. Paul P. Williams
Chief Charles Broadway, Brittany Wegner and Sue Hogan
Four generations of presidents at Spring Commencement 2016, from left to right: Dr. Charles Mojock (2002 - 2015), Dr. Stanley Sidor (current college president), Dr. Paul P. Williams (1962 - 1980), and Dr. Robert W. Westrick (1993- 2002) (LSSC photo)

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